Hands up who’s breathing a little sigh of relief now all the Christmas craziness is over?
We mums often bear the brunt of the buying, wrapping and feeding frenzy over the festive season so come January we’re feeling more than a little frazzled.
But taking some me-time to be a person in your own right rather than just ‘Mum’ is often easier said than done when even going to the loo solo is a rare treat. As a busy mum of two myself, there’s many a time when I’ve felt like I’m having an exciting night out just because I’m walking around Sainsbury’s on my own!
But me-time is actually vital for our mental health. A study of more than 1,500 women with babies, revealed that those that had time for themselves once a week had the lowest rate of depression.
As owner of a Mum and Baby skincare brand I regularly speak to new mums who feel last on the list when it comes to their own needs. But, as a friend with older children told me, it’s vital to think about yourself when you have children. “I think of those flight safety announcements… ‘in the event of loss of cabin pressure, place your own mask on before helping others’. You have to look after yourself or what good will you be for the rest of your family?”
But with busy toddlers, how do we actually grab any me-time? My advice is don’t be a martyr – if your partner is on-hand or childcare is offered, don’t feel guilty about taking it and remember you’re doing it for the good of everyone. And even with toddlers in tow, there’s still stuff that you can do that feels like it’s just for you. Here are my faves…
1. Exercise: I know, I know, the gyms are full to bursting come January and if I’m honest, there’s never a day when I wake up feeling like I want to go for a run, but after I’ve been, I somehow feel clearer, sharper and just plain happier. If running’s not your thing, a brisk walk, even with a buggy, will blow the cobwebs away.
2. An at-home nail pamper. Who doesn’t love to glance at winter red nails when they’re sipping their cuppa? And while we’re on the spa vibe – a glass of wine in a huge bubble bath feels like the ultimate indulgence.
3. Diary writing. OK, I’m not trying to give your brain even more of a ‘to-do’ list, but just a daily jot down of how you’re feeling works wonders. Use a section for forward planning too. Jotting down jobs compartmentalises them and clears our minds.
4. Catching up with friends – there’s nothing like a cuppa and a gossip to soothe the soul. Connecting with like-minded mates genuinely does recharge our batteries.
5. Having a Netflix-athon in my PJs. As mums we are so used to multi-tasking that even when we’re watching TV we’ll also be scrolling through our phones or feeling like we should be doing ‘jobs’. Immerse yourself completely in the programme and remind yourself how much you deserve it.
Jennifer Gledhill is co-owner of Love Boo, a natural skincare brand for mum’s and babies.